The 2020 Chicago White Sox have been riddled with injuries, as has the rest of Major League Baseball. There is great value in having players that are able to step in as reinforcements and provide some sort of production while the health of the club is mending. One of those reinforcements for the South Side is Danny Mendick.
When former first-round pick Nick Madrigal left the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in early August, there was a major concern that he suffered a broken hand or wrist. However, the evaluations done by the club showed that Madrigal suffered a separated shoulder and would miss some time. The good news was that the time table was much shorter than initially anticipated. Reports indicated that the rookie second baseman would likely return to play toward the end of August or at the start of September. Well, here we are, nearing that speculated return.
In Madrigal’s absence came Danny Mendick. The utility man made his Major League debut last season against the Cleveland Indians. A former 22nd-round pick by the White Sox in 2015, Mendick has filled in quite nicely. Like Madrigal, he has maintained the stability of having a contact hitter in the lower third of the batting order while getting the job done with the glove as well. At 26 years old, Mendick has played in 21 games this season with a slash line of .262/.300/.431 and a pair of home runs plus four RBIs. He also has yet to commit an error in his time with the club dating back to last season.
Prior to his injury, Nick Madrigal played in just five games. His far-too-early slash line was .294/.333/.294 with an RBI in 17 at-bats. Like Mendick, he committed no errors in 21 defensive chances. It was too soon to know if Madrigal was settling in the way he should, but just having his name in the lineup made fans feel warm and fuzzy.
While we await the actual return of the former Oregon State Beaver, there have to be thoughts of where each of these players fit in the puzzle that is the 2020 White Sox roster. Sure, Madrigal is the bigger name and the higher ceiling, but Mendick’s performance cannot be discounted just for the simple fact that a first-round pick is coming back. That being said, the White Sox will likely reinsert Madrigal in the lineup and use Mendick as a bench piece moving forward.
However, what thoughts does the front office have of continuing the Mendick experiment? At what point does the fresh-cleat-wearing 22nd-round surprise win the job? Or is that point so far away that there is no discussion? While Mendick’s aforementioned numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, they definitely don’t make you roll your eyes.
The more than likely scenario, again, is that Madrigal will be the guy moving forward, so join me in thanking Danny Mendick for his interim performance at second base. His value certainly has risen over the past couple of weeks, which is good for everyone involved. Let’s just hope he can continue that as a bench player.